31 January 2012

pulling fabrics

I've started pulling fabrics for that second version of the curved-pieced quilt. And I am going to try and keep it within the parameters of the Tangerine Tango Challenge, though not sure if I'll be entering that (though, since they have the same deadline as the quilt show call for entries, I might as well, right??)

I'm feeling a little gun-shy about cutting up the blocks before I can envision the various combinations, so earlier today I was playing around with the stacks until I came up with 4 groupings that I think I like together.

And though it was difficult to find a fabric to tie together the tangerine/orange with that deep wine color, when I found it I knew, and that Denyse Schmidt Hope Valley print on the bottom is just the link!

Hope to begin cutting into these guys by Thursday or Friday.

30 January 2012

new design

Have you all heard about the 2012 Fall Market and Festival having a section of the quilt show dedicated to quilts by members of the Modern Quilt Guild? I had seen something in passing and really didn't take it into consideration, but then at our meeting last week Jen, who is now involved with publicity and networking for the national MQG if I got that correctly, filled us in a bit and encouraged members to submit. If you're curious about the opportunity for submissions, you can find information on it here. The deadline for submissions is March 2nd and each individual may submit up to 2 quilts.

So, last weekend I got back into my sketchbook with a couple of new ideas, but know if anything I can only get one quilt started and finished in time for that deadline. The one that keeps intriguing me looks like this:

I played around with the fabrics in that stack and think it's got potential, but might try in different fabrics for a more dynamic/effective look. But here's a sneak peek at the blocks I made this week:
one set of blocks after slicing and rearranging fabrics

block before piecing

stack of all 12 blocks.

I might try to put together the next version in concert with the Tangerine Tango Challenge hosted by Ali and Erin on Flickr.

I've also been looking at some of the other pieces I did over the last year or two to decide if I think there's one I have enough confidence in to try and enter... These are the ones that I'm considering – any thoughts??
My Fiesta Squares quilt... an original design that I also plan to play with in time, but have gotten a pretty positive response to this version.

Nothing earth shattering, nor all that original, but a quilt I love and am very pleased with the end result (plus, it's backed with a shot cotton and the quilting shows through beautifully!)

Originally made for the second Project Modern Challenge.

And there is one more, but it is no longer in my possession (was a wedding gift from about a year and a half ago). J thinks it would be tacky for me to ask to borrow it back for the show, if I were to be accepted. I'd have to agree, sadly, but that doesn't make me think about it less. Stupid time constraints!

I'm sure there will be more musings in the upcoming weeks, but welcome any input, truly!

29 January 2012

Something fun

As crafters we all probably have the long list and the short list of projects. And then there are the fun new inspirations that distract us on a regular basis. This means that sometimes the simplest of sewing projects might take much longer to come into being than they rightfully should.

You all know what I'm talking about!!

At some point in the last year or so (how sad that I have no idea when I saw it!) I bought a yard and a half of a beautiful Jane Sassaman fabric, a print from her Sunshine and Shadows group, in order to make a pair of pillow cases for my guest bed. I think at the time I purchased it I also picked up a coordinate, but if that is the case, it didn't last the test of time and got used in another project along the way.

Lately I've been staring at that fabric folded nicely on my "to do" shelf and finally decided it was time to do. So, after many many months I now have a pair of pillow cases, which took well less than an hour to put together.

And now my guest bed has its own pillow cases to look pretty against my piles of clean laundry that usually take up residence there! (moved aside for the purpose of this photo, however!)

So, does anyone else have a story of a quick, easy project that took the backseat for so long that it seemed almost silly once you put your mind to actually getting it done??

Oh, and a post-script to this entry... Last fall for my birthday my mom invited me to join her, her cousin Debbie and some of their quilting friends for a Jane Sassaman workshop at the Hudson River Valley Fiber Art Workshops this summer! SO looking forward to that!

27 January 2012

Another top to the pile

About 2 weeks ago I went into Cool Cottons while Marie was there, searching for background fabric for the blocks I got last fall in the Nubees block swap through Flickr.

I was trying to set these blocks, primarily in blue, aqua, yellow and grey, bordered by a blue and grey Aneela Hoey coordinate from her Sherbet Pips line.

After auditioning several possibilities, we landed on one of the Alexander Henry Heath bolts. And it is PERFECT!

Now it's just a matter of figuring out how best to quilt this puppy, and actually getting it done! One more quilt top on the pile of unquilteds.

26 January 2012


I'm tempted to go ahead and make up BOTH of the sketches I did for the For the Love of Solids swap. I got all of my fabrics together, a pretty spectacular spectrum, if I do say so myself!

So I went ahead and started cutting. Even the neat little piles look pretty, and I'm not even so into the rainbow thing.

Maybe a pair of pillows? A pillow AND a wall hanging? Or maybe, one for her, one for me... time will tell.

My wandering eye

I don't think I've yet mentioned how my visit to the eye doctor the other week got me in trouble.

Eyes! on Broadway is located right next door to a knit shop called Twisted. I haven't gone yarn shopping in well over a year, but then I had never stepped foot in this shop.

And then I saw a cubby with 2 balls of yarn that looked something like this:
(only a little darker and with all sorts of rich colors showing) It's a Mochi Plus by Crystal Palace Yarns, feels like heaven, and put a spell on me.

Now, being a quilter, I see something beautiful and I think, "I need to buy that so I have it when I'm ready to make something from it." But all y'all who do any knitting or crochet know it just doesn't work that way with yarn! Seeing as they only had 2 balls left in the colorway, I did ask at the counter if they had more on order (which they did), and put in a request for them to contact me when those came in.

A message was left last weekend, which is what compelled me to sort through my current inventory in that respect, and look for any possible projects I might want to use this yarn for. Now, there IS a sweater pattern I picked up a couple of years ago, which still definitely appeals to me, but it also calls for over 1300 yds of yarn - a bit more commitment than I am prepared for just now. But darn it, I was gonna have that yarn, project or no project!!

Going back to the shop I made a last ditch effort to find a purpose for this gorgeous, gorgeous yarn, and I'm glad I did. I found a cute little pattern by Lee Meredith called "Skoodlet" a combination hood-scarlet.
(and looking at her website, she's got a lot of other cute patterns available!) And the cherry on the sundae... the pattern calls for exactly the amount of yarn as the shop had put aside for me! A sign, right??

So last night I got started on in, and after trying a technique that was very new to me, I have this much going:

Makin' me a hat and scarf just in time for the weather to head over 50 degrees!

25 January 2012

WIP Wed... not much progress

As I've been glancing at several other people's WIP Wednesday blog postings I've learned that I am far from the only person who has been down with some winter bug or other. That's just such a bummer all around, so I am sorry for all of you out there feeling crummy this season - hope you get your health and spark back soon!!

That said, this posting is going to be pretty light on accomplishments. I work my tail off last Thursday before our monthly Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting, trying to finish piecing the do.Good Stitches Bliss top in time for show and tell. On Thursday I was only this far:
This was still in about 7 or 8 different sections on my design wall - not terribly portable;-)

Then, yesterday after spending Friday-Sunday not leaving my home, and Monday taking it somewhat easy, I got back to the studio and got the rest of this put together. Still have to trim the left side and bottom before basting and quilting, but glad to have gotten this thing together. It's a bit busier than I had anticipated, but hopefully won't be too much for whomever ends up receiving it in the end!

And just out of curiosity, who else is participating in this round of the For the Love of Solids swap? I wrote a short post about my progress a couple of nights ago, found here. So far I've gotten a couple of sketches done, and was able to gather some fabrics yesterday and today to play with.

Is it looking bright and rainbowy yet??

Unfortunately, that's about all I have! I did bring with me to work today the oval template for the Encapsulated quilt and some freezer paper to trace onto, so hopefully I'll be a couple of steps closer to a finish for next week! Oh, and I made a commitment and counted the actual number of finished quilt tops I have just waiting to be quilted (including a couple of minis): 15!

new - 1
completed - 0
in progress - 8
unquilted tops - 15

OH! And I took it upon myself during my down time on the couch to sort through my baskets and bags of yarn and knitting/crochet projects... we might start seeing a few of these popping up from time to time, too!

Now, scoot on over to Freshly Pieced to check out what the others are reporting this WIP Wednesday!

23 January 2012

FTLOS Swap gets rolling

About a week ago partner assignments for the second For the Love of Solids modern sewing swap on Flickr were sent out out. They had been eagerly awaited by many, many crafty Flickr users, myself included!

One of the first steps to being a part of one of these virtual swaps is to make up an "inspiration mosaic": a composite of many other craft projects to point your swap partner in the right direction. My mosaic for this particular swap was:
The individual credits for each of these pictures can be found in my Flickr photostream, at this link.

There are apparently a couple of different sources for putting together these mosaics, but I've always had good luck using www.bighugelabs.com.

When the partner assignments go out, the stalking begins! That's the fun part, don't you think?? Gleaning clues about your secret swap partner, their likes, dislikes, desires, what they write in their own blog if it's out there. And thankfully, my partner has plenty of info for me to work from! However, it took me a little while to really get rolling.

I had a couple of days of work in there, then a day with a very specific sewing goal followed by... close to 4 days of being wiped out by some stupid stomach bug!! Dumb flu messing with my fun, stalking design plans! That said, I'm a bit behind in the color gathering stage, but got a chance to pull some pencils together while gazing at my partner's mosaic
and work on a couple of sketches

Tomorrow I'll be back at my studio for the first time in nearly a week, play around with some of the fabrics in my stash, then fill out the palette from Marie's awesome selection of solids at Cool Cottons. That should also give my secret partner plenty of time to chime in on the discussion threads of the Flickr group (some of which she already has... so it *could* still be any of you!). I'll try to keep up on posting progress over the next month or so.

19 January 2012

new eyes!

Totally not quilting related (and no photos just yet...)

Today I picked up my new pair of glasses - and for those of you who know me in real life, you probably have not seen me WITHOUT glasses in the last 15 years or so, so a change in look is kind of fun! But the real change is that I am testing out contact lenses again, and am confident that it will go well this time around (since I am not going to a hack, as happened the other summer when I tried this).

Oh, AND my prescription seems to actually be accurate, which has not been the case since the afore-mentioned summer of the hack. Maybe I'll be able to thread my needles more easily again!

Over and out,

18 January 2012

WIP Wednesday

Well, this past week had a very different rhythm to it than the previous week or two, but I still managed to check a few things off the list (some expected, and some completely not!)

The Hopman baby quilt:

I got the binding finished up on a very slow and slightly snowy day at the quilt shop.

FMQ pot holders:

Throw quilt from YEARS ago:

Silly little table topper:
A few of these were simply a matter of bindings, but that counts as completed, right??

Some Progress
Summertime Stars quilt top:
Quilt top is pieced and on the shelf of tops awaiting quilting... it may be there a while;-)

Test block for Friends + Fabric bee:
I still have a fair amount of work on this one before it's ready for the next stage.

No Progress
Trip Around the World
November Bliss top
Nubees quilt top
Warm/Cool QAL
place mats already cut out

This week's tally:
New - 2
Completed - 4
In Progress - 8

Go check out all the other activity in blogland through the links on Lee's blog, Freshly Pieced
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Here's to a great week ahead, kids!!

16 January 2012

Trying a new block, pt. 1

I'm going to be testing out some new blocks in the next couple of weeks and months. A few days ago I decided to start with the sunburst block, a tutorial for which can be found at Film in the Fridge. Now, Ashley does start out by saying that it was quickly penned and describes her own process, not necessarily tried against other possible ways of doing a similar block.

And I did have some trouble with it. But here's what I have so far:
Started gathering strips and scraps of printed and solid fabrics.
Had my computer open to Ashley's tutorial as I began piecing bits together.
Continued working across, trying to measure as I went, but that was not always as successful as it would seem.
(as the last green prints shows... because of the angle of the seam, I lost the necessary length at the top).
And I apparently can't get my points matched up properly, either.

I was working on 4 different halves, but by the time I got them "finished" I only had 2 viable halves, neither one of which is quite right, but it's a start!

Next week I'll play around a little bit with the process and report back. But I was very happy to have somewhere to start, so thank you, Ashley!

12 January 2012

recycle, reuse, repurpose

Keeping in line with the theme of pulling old projects off the shelf of oblivion, I surprised even myself this afternoon! The earlier part of the day was spent crossing a couple of smaller items off my list, including getting those star blocks pieced together in a finished top:
which, to be fair, looks very much like the photo of the individual blocks displayed on the design wall, found in this post.

And then I took a lunch break, and maybe enjoyed an adult beverage, too;-) So, coming back to the studio I spent some time at the ironing board pressing new fabrics and regrouping. But I was not ready to dive in to one of these new projects just yet.

So, where does that leave us but finding a NOT-SO-NEW project! I don't know if any of you remember these?
a false start I had on that placemat commission that ended up looking like this. Though I had decided that this wasn't right for the client, I still like 'em, so I stowed them away for a bit.

One of the issues that had come up initially is that one of the placemats ended up short. And I didn't have enough of the focus fabric to scrap the large piece and cut a replacement. So, what does one do with 2 discarded placemats, one of which is too small to be useful as such? Why, cut them into a pair of pot holders, of course!!

As for quilting them, I went against the grain (no pun intended). For pot holders I generally use a simple, straight line quilting, because let's be realistic, no one cares how fancy the quilting is on the tool you're using to pull the casserole from the oven, right? But this fabric gets me every time! I was drawn in by the little vines and leaves on the print, and it evolved into an actual feather quilting motif! Who'da thunk it?

And can you believe this was my first foray into free-motion quilting on the Bernina?!? Though I prefer my trusty Viking in SO MANY WAYS, I do have to concede that this machine handled Beautifully with FMQ!! Not even any tension issues on the bobbin thread, which I find inconceivable! However, that said, these might not be so practical as pot holders any more! Just one of the sacrifices we'll make to push our creativity, I guess.